22 January 2016

Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Tactical Preview (bring on Diego Costa, by all means)....

We might be deprived of a chance at rubbing Mourinho's face after he was unceremoniously sacked by—I'm sorry—after he and Chelsea "parted by mutual consent" in December, but that should take none of the edge of an encounter that stil offers plenty of history and perhaps even hatred. For as much as we love the fact that Chelsea sit just a few points from relegation, this is still by and large the same squad that won the Prem just eight months ago. After dropping points at Anfield and the Brit in recent weeks, we simply have to smash Chelsea for all three, both for the schadenfreude as well as the strategic value.

21 January 2016

Dearest Guus Huddink: could you wear a Mourinho-mask, or get Clattenburg to don a Dean?

I'll admit, I'm miffed. Perturbed. Disappointed, even. Ever since Mourinho's minions managed to escape Stamford Bridge despite playing twelve against nine, I've looked forward to this one. I'd been relishing the chance to rub Mourinho's smirky, passive-aggressive face into the Emirates pitch for weeks; meanwhile, I milked the sweet ambrosia that has been Chelsea's flirtation with relegation, eagerly anticipating the chance to not only exact revenge but to do while showing your plastic fans what football should look like—no amount of bus-parking or cynical fouling or hoofing it forward would save you. And then, your sugar-daddy had to go and spoil it all by sacking Mourinho, depriving us at a chance at sweet, sweet revenge. Well, in his absence, you'll have to do.

20 January 2016

Wenger's vision vindicated! Villains and vilifiers vanquished!

It's been a long, sometimes bitter decade (almost) since Arsenal left Highbury and moved to the Emirates, and it's been a bit longer since Arsenal enjoyed the kind of success that has so spoiled so many Gooners who had come of age (or come to know the club) during those amazing Invincible-era days. The Emirates had become an absolute albatross, it seemed, dragging us downward and forcing us to sell off our best and brightest to finance that infamous stadium debt. Meanwhile, other clubs shot past us, financed by sugar-daddies and oil-barons. No more. that albatross has taken flight, and Arsène Wenger, so often mocked and derided, is on the verge of seeing his long-term plan come to fruition. According to Deloitte, Arsenal's match-day revenue is now the highest in the world!

18 January 2016

Arsenal seize a point from the graveyard of empires...

Zero. Manchester United. Manchester City. Chelsea (sorry, forgot my thesis). One: Leicester. Arsenal. Among the serious contenders for the Prem title, only Arsenal have faced a full-strength Stoke at the Brit and come away with a point. The Mancs combined to lose by a collective 4-0. Chelsea, for what they're worth, also got blanked 1-0. Only Leicester, facing a Shawcross-less Stoke, had emerged relatively unscathed, earning a point after falling behind 2-0. Arsenall, playing without Alexis or Özil showed very little fluidity going forward but still bested our chief rivals by grabbing that point. It might not be inspiring stuff to celebrate a point, but it's enough to keep us top of the table for at least another week.

17 January 2016

Stoke 0-0 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM!

As expected, Stoke set up a stubborn defensive display but did show flashes of flair, especally early on. Arsenal struggled to get any momentum going. The first half saw each side generate just one or two clear-cut chances each. Early in the second half, referee Craig Pawson ignored several penalty-shouts when Walcott and Giroud were each brought down in the area. Stoke had several chances snuffed out brilliantly by Čech, after which things seemed to settle into a tepid morass. Stoke had a bum-clenching sequence in the closing minutes, including a punch-out from Čech, a goal-line clearance from Ramsey, and a sprawling kick-away from Čech. Madness. Well, it's a point taken, enough to get us top of the table again. Get down to the poll to give our players what they deserve...